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Make Up Your Mind: How to Make Financial Decisions


For most of us, making decisions feels very difficult.

Making a decision means you are saying yes to one thing and no to a myriad of alternatives (sort of like getting married). Keeping the door open to the perception of unlimited choice usually ends up being unsatisfying … but it keeps the stress of making an actual decision at bay.

Making financial progress (or progress in any realm of life) is only going to happen if you grow in the skill of decision making. Here’s a process you can use to make a hard decision:

1. Get the important facts. You do not need all the facts. A neurotic search for every last fact is a delay tactic. Aim for getting 80% of your facts straight. Waiting and searching for every last fact is a waste of time and energy.

2. Seek wise counsel. By all means, talk to people whom you respect and who have been through a similar situation, or who you simply regard as wise. In most cases, you don’t need to discuss a big decision with more than three people. Seeking many more opinions than that is usually simply practicing procrastination.

3. Pray for courage. Ah, now here is the issue. Most of the time when someone comes to me with a worried look on their face, saying, “I just don’t know what to do,” they know exactly what to do.

They just don’t want to do it.

4. Courage is not the absence of anxiety when taking action. Courage is acting anyway.

So whether you are the praying sort, or someone who looks deeply within themselves for this kind of character quality, you’re going to have to tap into courage to make a hard decision. Because ultimately, you’ve got to…

5. Pull the trigger. Take the action. Quit the job. Fire the employee. Sell the house. Ask for the raise. Take the risk. Live your dream.

Is it time to quit? Time to move? Time to move on? Time to say yes? Time to say no?

You know what to do. Make the decision.

Have courage. Act. Do it.

Byron is a Certified Financial Planner and Managing Director of the Planning Group at Argent Advisors, Inc.
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